local design from nefta, tunisia palm lab project by matali crasset
local design from nefta, tunisia   palm lab project by matali crasset local design from nefta, tunisia   palm lab project by matali crasset
nov 28, 2012

local design from nefta, tunisia palm lab project by matali crasset

carpets as a result of the palm lab project directed by matali crasset, in collaboration with patrick elouarghi and philippe chapeletimage  © wassim ghozlani



matali crasset, in collaboration with patrick elouarghi and philippe chapelet of HI Life – a group of ecological design hotels – have fostered the development of 12 objects that will be exclusively distributed by french company made in design. the collection was conceived through the palm lab project which began while the french designer was working with elouarghi and chapelet on the Dar HI eco lodge in nefta, tunisia. the initiative fuses design with local talent not only to promote local craftsmanship, but also seeks to preserve and rehabilitate the region’s jewel – the oasis – a fragile environment that requires creative, productive and ecological intervention in hope of its conservation.


the selection of pieces were directed by Dar HI’s principles – focusing on ecological and sustainable practices celebrating and harnessing native materials used by the people of nefta such as woven sheep’s wool, palm and apricot wood. the five years spent on site for the realization of Dar HI, with 2 years on the construction, allowed the team to be immersed in local culture revealing insight into the way the community functioned. they discovered that residents are very hands-on and that most of the craft production is led by women. through this gathered knowledge, the program combines and involves raw material, the role of local women, nefta culture and landmarks to produce natural, economical and ecological products.

all the work generated reflects the values of hospitality and sharing inherent in nefta culture. the outcomes were a result of recruiting women to realize crasset’s sketches through their traditional methods, including a collection of kilims, sheep wool covers and picnic mats – mobilizing the town’s weaving talents with the choice of the patterns, colours and shapes decided through an exchange between the village craftsmen and crasset. the carpenters used apricot and palm wood for stool designs – an extension of furniture they had already fabricated for Dar HI and nefta’s arts and crafts faculties; and metal artistry is exhibited through a series of lighting pieces – adjustable and wall mounted lamps.


through offering a platform and outlet for creation in combination with an opportunity for a wider audience through made in design – the palm lab project ignites a new conversation between traditional making, contemporary design and sustainability – providing a strong voice not only for the agents of nefta culture, but small communities globally.



locally weaved matsimage  © wassim ghozlani




image  © wassim ghozlani



image  © wassim ghozlani




‘couverture’image © wassim ghozlani


image  © wassim ghozlani



‘tagine’image  © wassim ghozlani



‘tabouret’image © wassim ghozlani



‘suspension’image © wassim ghozlani



local carpenterimage © wassim ghozlani



local weaverimage © wassim ghozlani

  • …and??? Props to the actual workers..they made it pretty easy to stage their achievements. Where so I apply for that job? Laying a rug over a wall…is it design? Is it an installation? Or is it just another way for somebody to make some money fro the labour of others…U gotta wonder. MY initial reaction was “U have got to be kidding?:

    Pasha says:

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